Wordle is 1,000 — these are the 50 hardest games so far

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Few things get the brain going like a difficult Wordle, and there have been plenty of them over the game's first 1,000 puzzles.

From obscure words such as ASCOT and SCRAM to Wordles with lots of repeated letters like SASSY and VIVID, and of course Wordles with the dreaded too-many-answers format (HATCH and FOUND), there are plenty of pitfalls awaiting unwary Wordlers.

But, on the day that Wordle turns 1,000, what have been the hardest Wordles so far? Read on and I'll tell you all…

Your Wordle expert
Marc McLaren
Your Wordle expert
Marc McLaren

Marc is TechRadar’s Global Editor in Chief and has been playing Wordle for more than two years. He's authored dozens of articles on the game for TechRadar and its sister site Tom's Guide, his Wordle streak has reached the 500 mark long ago (and is now in the 800s) and he'll be inconsolable if he loses it. Yes, he takes it all too seriously.

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The hardest Wordles so far

It's impossible to give a definitive answer to what the hardest Wordles are, because the game only exploded in popularity late in 2021, when there had already been nearly 200 games. But I can give you an accurate idea of which games have been the toughest since early 2022.

That's because the New York Times, which bought Wordle in March of that year, launched a helper tool called WordleBot soon after the purchase. WordleBot is fantastic for many reasons, but one of my favorite things about it is that it details the average score for each game from everyone who's played it. 

Hang on – is it really 1,000?

Technically, Wordle is 1,001 games old, not 1,000, because its first puzzle was #0. But we'll skip over that fact, because it would have been weird to be celebrating at #999.

I've recorded those scores for every game from April 2022 and report them in my daily Wordle today column, and as a result I now have data for just over 700 of them. I'm not going to list them all – that would make for rather a long article – but I've included the top 50 or so below.

It's no surprise (to me at least) that Wordle #454, PARER, is the hardest yet. That was a beast of an answer, and one that had a remarkable average score of 6.3. Yes, that's the right – the average was a fail. I escaped with a 6/6 on that day, but only by guessing correctly on a one-in-three chance between PARER, PAVER and PAYER.

The are plenty of other memorable Wordles in the list, for instance MUMMY – which is one of the 19 Wordle answers that contains a triple repeat. Or maybe you found JAZZY to be worse; this one pairs J, the least common letter in the game, with a double Z of all things. 

Whichever represents your own personal hell, there's no doubting that these Wordles troubled the greatest number of people. And for that, I salute them. 

That's what the data says, then, but stats only tell half the story. So here, then, are my own top five Wordles From Hell. 


WOOER appeared too early for me to have data on it – it was the answer to puzzle #78 way before most people were playing. But it remains the only one of Wordle's 1,001 games that I failed.

I played it via the now-defunct Wordle Archive, and to this day I don't understand why it was included in the list of words that Josh Wardle came up with. Yes, technically, it's a genuine word – but it's not one that many people (anyone?) would ever use. Given that only 2,309 words are in the original answer list, it seems like an odd choice.

It also has two classic 'Difficult Wordle' characteristics: a repeated letter and an ER ending. Coupled with its obscurity as a word, it all proved too much for me.


Another early Wordle, this one appeared in August 2021 (game #54), and it nearly became my first failure. The two repeated letters are unhelpful; only 38 of Wordle's 2,309 solutions have a pair of repeats, as I discuss in my article on how I analyzed the first 1,000 Wordles to look for patterns. But the bigger problem is, well, the fact that it's so colloquial.

Maybe this is just me, but I expect Wordle to maintain a certain degree of seriousness, and BOOBY does not do that. At all. I solved it in six eventually, but even on that last guess I didn't believe it would really be an answer. Shows what I know…


Wordle answer 454 (PARER) on a yellow background

(Image credit: New York Times)

The hardest Wordle ever according to WordleBot, and who am I to argue with that? It was another one that I needed six guesses to solve, and I again nearly failed entirely. 

My mistake, obviously, was guessing PALER > PAGER > PAPER, rather than using a word to narrow down the options. In my defence, after PALER gave me four greens I was convinced I had a straight 50/50 between the other two, so didn't bother to look for alternatives. 

When PAPER wasn't right, panic set in – and things got worse when I realized that technically it could still be PARER, PAVER or PAYER. Neither seemed likely, so I rolled a dice to choose between them (really!), and on that day at least the Wordle gods smiled on me. 


Wordle answer 335 (GAMER) on a yellow background

(Image credit: New York Times)

Before PARER, there was GAMER. This was the first Wordle I remember causing me real problems in real time (rather than via the Archive), and once again it nearly cost me my streak. I ended up with a 50/50 between GAMER and GAZER, and went with the former based on M being a more common letter than Z. Fortunately, I was right.


Wordle 662 (BORAX) on a yellow background

(Image credit: New York Times)

BORAX is only the equal 27th hardest Wordle, according to the stats, and wasn't even one of the 24 games in which I scored a 6/6 (I solved it in five). But it deserves its place in my personal nightmares list.

The fact that it ends in an X didn't help, but the problem here was more that I had never heard of the word BORAX before. I now know that it was the name of a popular cleaning product in America for many years, but I'm based in the UK so it simply didn't register with me; the fact that I solved it in five was solely due to the fact that there couldn't have been any other answer by that stage.

Still, I learned a new word, so it wasn't all bad. Let's see how many more I discover in the next 1,000 games.

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Marc McLaren
Global Editor in Chief

Marc is TechRadar’s Global Editor in Chief, the latest in a long line of senior editorial roles he’s held in a career that started the week that Google launched (nice of them to mark the occasion). Prior to joining TR, he was UK Editor in Chief on Tom’s Guide, where he oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage. He's also a former editor of the tech website Stuff and spent five years at the music magazine NME, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun. He’s based in London, and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and pretty much every other type of gadget you can think of. An avid photographer, Marc likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). He also enjoys live music, gaming, cycling, and beating Wordle (he authors the daily Wordle today page).